Lawrie seals Masters spot as Hoey wins in Morocco

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Former Open champion Paul Lawrie last night clinched his first start in the US Masters since 2004 – without hitting a shot.

The 43-year-old was certain to keep his place in the world’s top 50 because of the results of others at the Hassan Trophy in Morocco and Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida.

Lawrie last season had his first win for nine years, ended 2011 by finishing runner-up in the Dubai World Championship and then last month won the Qatar Masters. He has not played any major in America since the 2004 US Open and in five appearances at Augusta has a best finish of 15th nine years ago.

The Hassan Trophy was won by Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey. Nine behind after his opening 74, the 33-year-old grabbed his fourth European Tour victory – and second of this cup campaign – with two superb closing rounds of 65.

Hoey, who took the £207,737 first prize with a 17-under-par total of 271, beat compatriot Rory McIlroy at the Dunhill Links Championship last October and it was another Irishman, Damien McGrane, whom he pushed into second place this time.

McGrane shared the lead with a round to play along with Matteo Manassero. The 18-year-old Italian had to win to have a chance of qualifying for The Masters, but fell away to joint sixth with a 72.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson, yet to win in nearly 250 Tour events, shot a course-record 61 to share third place.

Donaldson covered the back nine in 28, only one off the Tour record.

Craig Lee was the top Scot, closing with a 68 to tie for 14th on 279, one better than Richie Ramsay (69). Gary Orr (71) was on 281, followed by George Murray (67) on 282.